Aspen Exploration Corporation (ASPN)
Interview with:
Bob Cohan, President and CEO
Business News, Financial News, Stocks, Money & Investment Ideas, CEO Interview
and Information on their
business of acquiring and developing interests in domestic oil and gas properties operating primarily in northern California.

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With a 24-year operating history Aspen Exploration Corporation is very solid, honest, well-run company with little debt and good existing production and good prospects to drill in the future

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Oil/Gas Exploration

Aspen Exploration Corporation

1601 New Stine Road - Suite 205
Bakersfield, CA  93309
Phone: 661-831-4669

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Bob Cohan
President and
Chief Executive Officer

Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse
Senior Editor
January 2004

Bob Cohan
President and Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Cohan obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from the State University College at Oneonta, NY in 1979.  He has approximately 24 years experience in oil and gas exploration, development, and evaluation including employment with Western Geophysical, H. K. van Poollen & Assoc., Inc., Universal Oil & Gas, and Tri-Valley Oil & Gas Co.  Mr. Cohan has been employed by  Aspen Exploration Corporation for a total of 12 years and effective May 1, 2003, was appointed President and CEO of Aspen.  He is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG).

Company Profile:
ASPEN EXPLORATION CORPORATION (OTC: BB–ASPN), operating primarily in northern California is engaged in the business of acquiring and developing interests in domestic oil and gas properties. The Company has a talented staff that allows Aspen to keep overhead costs low and yet participate in numerous exploration and development drilling deals as well as production purchases.

Aspen is now the operator of 37 gas wells and, in addition, owns non-operating interests in an additional 16 gas wells. In the past 3 years Aspen has successfully completed 12 gas wells out of 15 attempts, a record virtually unheard of in the oil and gas exploration business. 3-D seismic data and qualified interpreters are essential for this exploration. Aspen and partners have recently completed a 10 square mile seismic survey in Colusa County and the data is under study.

Aspen currently has working interests in approximately 53 producing wells, mostly high BTU natural gas, and has a very active drilling program planned for 2004.  All of the selected drill sites for 2004 have been identified through the use of 3-D seismic techniques, which have demonstrated great improvement in the percentages of successful oil and gas discoveries.   New and additional drilling locations for gas wells are constantly sought, based on solid geology in conjunction with 3-D seismic information.   The Sacramento Valley of California, where current activities are focused, include extensive, nationally important oil and gas production and refining facilities, thereby allowing quick hook-up and production of gas when a discovery is made.  The Aspen staff and consultants have also found representatives of the State of California to be very cooperative and it is not difficult to obtain permits for new exploratory wells or to expand existing production.

CEOCFOinterviews: Mr. Cohan, has there been any changes since you took over as CEO of Aspen Exploration?

Mr. Cohan: “The company hasn’t changed since my becoming CEO and president in the last year. I was president of the West Coast Division with primarily the same duties and functions as I currently have now. I would say it was a relatively seamless transition.”

CEOCFOinterviews: What is the focus of Aspen?

Mr. Cohan: “Aspen was founded about 24 years ago in February of 1980. We opened up our California office in April of 1995, which is almost nine years ago. Our focus is natural gas exploration in the Sacramento Valley of northern California. We are a very small aggressive and independent producer, looking to grow the company through the drill bit and production acquisitions.”

CEOCFOinterviews: What is it about the Sacramento area that makes it a good place to be?

Mr. Cohan: “What we like about the Sacramento Valley is that there are multiple producing horizons up there. We currently operate about 37 gas wells and the producing formations range all the way from 2000 feet to about 11,000 feet in depth. Several of the wells could have three or four producing formations in one well. The Sacramento Valley is primarily populated by the smaller independents, which Aspen is. The majors have long since gone and we can typically acquire the leases we need. There is a lot of drilling opportunities for an independent gas producer.”

CEOCFOinterviews: You mentioned that you are aggressive; what does that mean for Aspen?

Mr. Cohan: “Aspen is a company with two full time employees and a market cap of about five million dollars or so. Most companies our size might drill one or two wells a year, while Aspen is able to drill five or six wells a year in addition to achieving some production acquisitions. For a company our size, that is considered aggressive. We are efficient and well-run and we are able to do quite a bit with a small staff.”

CEOCFOinterviews: What is it that you know that others don’t?

Mr. Cohan: “Due to Aspen’s reputation of being very honest and able to move quickly, we do see a large deal flow. There is a group of independent geologists and geophysicists who generate the gas prospects. Most of these parties bring the prospects to Aspen because they know that we will give them a quick response. If we take the deal, we will get it drilled, and therefore that is their payday. I don’t know what we know that others don’t other than we get to see a lot of the deals out there and we are able to act on them quickly. Aspen typically reviews 20-25 prospects for everyone that we drill. We do a lot of research before we drill a well.”

CEOCFOinterviews: What factors do you look at when deciding on the right well to drill?

Mr. Cohan: “A combination of 3-D seismic and well data. Almost every well we drill has 3-D seismic over it. You want to have a good 3-D seismic response, which is analogous to known productive gas wells with similar 3-D responses, in conjunction with well control in the area. We try to use all of the available data. The other factor we look at is the risk to reward ratio; you need to look at the depth and the cost of the wells and the potential per well reserves. The combination of both science and economics makes the project the right project for Aspen.”

CEOCFOinterviews: How does experience and ‘gut feeling’ play into your decisions?

Mr. Cohan: “Gut feeling doesn’t play a huge role, but experience does play a large role. We look at every prospect on its own merits but the more experience you have with similar prospects, that always goes into the decision.”

CEOCFOinterviews: Will you tell us about the current projects and what is on the horizon?

Mr. Cohan: “We recently completed a 10 square mile 3-D seismic survey in our WEST GRIMES FIELD area in Colusa County. We have 5,000 acres or so leased up there. We should have the results of the seismic in about two months. We are hopeful that there will be numerous high-quality, high reserve drilling locations to drill. Aspen’s DENVERTON CREEK FIELD, located in Solano County: Aspen extended this field 2 miles to the northeast of the previous field limits in November of 1996 by drilling twelve gas wells out of fifteen attempts for an 80% success ratio. We have produced about 10 BCF (billion cubic feet) of gas so far and have some additional drilling to do there. We just have taken several new quality projects that we will be drilling next year in various counties in the Sacramento Valley."

CEOCFOinterviews: Are there any recent breakthroughs in drilling that helped reduce costs?

Mr. Cohan: “What has greatly reduced the cost of drilling in the last five to ten years, has been the PDC bit which is a newer type of drill bit that enables the wells to be drilled faster and therefore cheaper. I would say that is by far the major breakthrough in drilling in the Sacramento Valley.”

CEOCFOinterviews: The price of natural gas is cyclical; how does that fit into what you do?

Mr. Cohan: “It used to be cyclical before all the gas-fired generated plants were built. You would have low prices in the summer and high prices in the winter. If you look at the nature of gas prices the last couple of years, this isn’t the case anymore because in the summer there is also quite a demand for natural gas. I have a chart that I keep on natural gas prices and since about late December of 2002, gas prices have been at or above $4.00 per MMBtu and currently the daily price is about $6.60. I would say prices are much less cyclical and much higher. If you go back a few years, $2.00 - $3.00 gas was the norm; now $3.75 - $6.50 gas is the range.”

CEOCFOinterviews: Who are your customers?

Mr. Cohan: “We sell our gas to various gas purchasers such as Calpine, ConocoPhillips and ENSERCO. They can take all the gas we produce and it is a good time to be a natural gas producer now.”

CEOCFOinterviews: What are your challenges for the future?

Mr. Cohan: “For Aspen it would be to continue to find quality drilling prospects and acquisitions so that we can continue to grow the company as we have.”

CEOCFOinterviews: How is the company doing financially?

Mr. Cohan: “The company is doing fine. We have been profitable the last year or so. We have a very good group of partners that have been with me for years. We have had excellent drilling success so we are able to take on much larger projects. Aspen typically keeps 20-30% of each project and the rest is taken by its partners. Funding for the prospects has not been a problem at all.”

CEOCFOinterviews: There are many companies similar to Aspen; why should potential investors be interested?

Mr. Cohan: “Aspen has a 24-year operating history; we are very solid, honest, and well respected by our peers (the other oil and gas companies), service companies and the land owners.  We pay all of our bills quickly. We are a well-run company with little debt and we have good existing production and good prospects to drill in the future. We are a natural gas producer and natural gas prices are extremely high now with good prices forecast for months and hopefully years to come.”

CEOCFOinterviews: Is the 24-year history unusual for your industry?

Mr. Cohan: “For a small company such as Aspen that started in the boom of 1980, probably the majority of companies our size are long gone, so we have certainly persevered.”

CEOCFOinterviews: What should investors know that perhaps they don’t realize when they first look at the company?

Mr. Cohan: “I think the public data that we put out accurately describes the company. The share price currently is about eighty-five cents. Aspen has typically put all of its money in its projects. We have not spent much on investor relations. If anything, we are under exposed to the investment community so possibly we are under valued.”

CEOCFOinterviews: Are you interested in reaching more of the investment public?

Mr. Cohan: “We are starting to consider that as we grow. We feel a company that is as well-run as Aspen with its long operating history is probably of interest to the investment community especially with the high natural gas prices.”

CEOCFOinterviews: You have a section on your website about awards, will you tell us what Aspen is recognized for?

Mr. Cohan: “We, for the last three years, have won the Outstanding Lease Maintenance Award, which is given out by the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, to operators like Aspen, that not only meet the requirements of the division, but exceed them. If you look at some of the pictures on the website, you will see that we go the extra mile, not just to install the production facilities, but we groom them and they are attractive looking well sites. That pleases the landowners as well as the division. We have won the Best New Well in the Pacific Region award in 1998 for the Emigh #2-1 well, which is one of our Denverton Creek wells. Other recognition has been that the Oil and Gas Journal, an international publication for the oil and gas business, rated Aspen the number two U.S. Independent Public Oil and Gas Company in 2002. They have access to our financials and I suppose they just gather all of the financials of public companies and rate them based on various parameters, so we are very proud of that.”

CEOCFOinterviews: What makes a well “best”?

Mr. Cohan: “They rate it as both the amount of pay in the well, the flow rate, what the well would do to stimulate additional drilling in the area. You have to apply to win and we applied and we won.”

CEOCFOinterviews: Are there any environmental issues that we should be talking about?

Mr. Cohan: “In California many people have the misconception that it is a tough place to do business. We have to go through the permit process for each county before we drill a well, which takes anywhere from 30-75 days. The various counties look at all the environmental issues but we have not had any problems. We have found it to be a very friendly place to do business as long as you do business properly. If you are a solid company and follow the rules, things seem to go very smoothly. The Division of Oil and Gas is very operator-friendly; I have been very pleased with the engineers and the geologists that work for them.”

CEOCFOinterviews: What would you like to say to our readers in closing?

Mr. Cohan: “I would like to mention our website is and our trading symbol is ASPN on the OTC bulletin board.”

This article contains information that is “forward-looking” in that it describes events and conditions which Aspen Exploration Corporation (“Aspen”) reasonably expects to occur in the future.  Expectations for the future performance of the business of Aspen are dependent upon a number of factors, and there can be no assurance that Aspen will achieve the results as contemplated herein and there can be no assurance that Aspen will be able to conduct its operations or production from its properties will continue as contemplated herein.  Certain statements contained in this report using the terms “may,” “expects to,” and other terms denoting future possibilities, are forward-looking statements.  The accuracy of these statements cannot be guaranteed as they are subject to a variety of risks which are beyond the Company’s ability to predict or control and which may cause actual results to differ materially from the projections or estimates contained herein.  These risks include, but are not limited to: the possibility that the described operations (including any proposed exploration or development drilling) will not be completed on economic terms, if at all, or the estimates of reserves may not be accurate.  The exploration for, and development and production of, oil and gas are an enterprises attendant with high risk, including the risk of fluctuating prices for oil and natural gas, imports of petroleum products from other countries, the risks of not encountering adequate resources despite expending large sums of money, and the risk that test results and reserve estimates may not be accurate, notwithstanding appropriate precautions.  Many of these risks are described herein and in Aspen’s annual report on Form 10-KSB, and it is important that each person reviewing this report understand the significant risks attendant to the operations of Aspen.  Aspen disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statement made herein.

disclaimers – Any reproduction or further distribution of this article without the express written consent of is prohibited.


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DENVER, COLORADO, July 12, 2004.  Aspen Exploration Corporation (OTCBB:  ASPN), with offices in Bakersfield, California, and Denver, Colorado, has announced additional successful results from its drilling efforts in the West Grimes Field, Colusa County, California.  Aspen has drilled 5 successful gas wells out of 5 attempts in 2004 and anticipates drilling 4 additional wells in the Sacramento Valley gas province of northern California this year.

Posted: 7/12/04 -


Current Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of
The Securities Act of 1934

Date of Report   June 28, 2004


Posted: 7/9/04 -



DENVER, COLORADO, June 30, 2004.  Aspen Exploration Corporation (OTCBB:  ASPN), with offices in Bakersfield, California, and Denver, Colorado, has announced successful results from its first four wells drilled in the 2004 drilling season.  Aspen anticipates drilling 5 additional wells in the Sacramento Valley gas province of northern California this year.

Posted: 7/9/04 -
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